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Families protest Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty's plea deals for juvenile offenders

Families hold rally to protest policies of Hennepin County’s attorney
Families hold rally to protest policies of Hennepin County’s attorney 00:41

MINNEAPOLIS —Several families held a rally Wednesday outside the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis to demand tougher penalties for criminals.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty has faced criticism for offering juvenile offenders plea deals. Among those are a teen accused of killing Zaria McKeever, and a teen involved in the carjacking-related shooting death of Steve Markey.

RELATED: The death of Zaria McKeever: Gov. Tim Walz intervenes to move juvenile murder case to AG Keith Ellison's office

"We want to have accountability and responsibility for those who commit violent crimes in Hennepin County," said Julie Wicklund, with Safe Streets NOW for a Better Tomorrow.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty WCCO

Following protests by McKeever's family and others, Gov. Tim Walz intervened and handed the case to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. Moriarty, a former public defender, called the move "undemocratic."

RELATED: "Our family feels re-victimized": Steve Markey's family wants Hennepin Co. attorney to drop plea deal for Husayn Braveheart

In response to the event, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office released a statement saying in part, "Our hearts go out to all who have suffered as a result of violence in our communities … Our goal is to stop the violence and hold people accountable in a meaningful way. Sometimes that means a long prison sentence and, in some cases, other tools give us a much better chance of protecting public safety."

Markey's family also called upon Attorney General Ellison to intervene, but he declined, saying he doesn't expect the governor to reroute any more criminal cases from county attorneys to his office moving forward.

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